OASIS & RAND…Danger Will Robinson! Danger!

Larry Rosen, an intellectual property attorney and open source advocate, has called to action all open source advocates to battle against patenting standards via a consortium called OASIS. OASIS is chock full of powerful members from businesses around the globe including friend of Linux IBM, HP, and foe of Linux Microsoft. So, what’s the deal with this? When I read the article, I didn’t really know what the heck these guys were talking about. So I went to the OASIS webpage to check out what all the hubbub was about.

What I found was similar to an old western movie. How so? You’ve got the sheriff and his posse rooting out any of the “bad guys” in various ways; first by deputizing anyone and everyone that can buy themselves in and secondly by making up any laws they want to and going out to enforce them. How is this? Let’s say that IBM and HP develop a standard together…for the sake of argument, let’s say that they have a new file format and they call it BVL. Ok, so BVL is a new cool format that allows RSS syndication of 3D images to be syndicated…(hypothetical here). They push this BVL format onto their little consortium OASIS and all of the members think it is just the cat’s pajamas.

They ratify and adopt this standard. They look at three IPR modes (Intellectual Property Rights) to release their BVL standard under…Reasonable And Non-Discriminatory (RAND),” “Royalty-Free (RF) on RAND Terms,” or “RF on Limited Terms”. In each instance, this standard would prevent open source from interacting with it.

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